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roof collapse

What to Do if Your Roof Collapses or Gets Damaged

A roof collapsing could happen suddenly and result in a major fright and even harm to you or your loved ones. Or it could happen over days or weeks of leaks appearing after heavy rains. Or it might even be from a natural disaster like a flood, fire, or hurricane. 

Whatever the cause, having a damaged or collapsed roof can cause panic—for good reason—and you might not know quite what to do if it happens. That’s why we’ve got some tips on how to handle this scary situation. 

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Tips for When Your Roof Collapses in South Africa

If your roof is collapsing due to something like a fire, it’s best to immediately evacuate the building and make sure you’re far enough away that you can’t get hurt. If you or someone in the house has been hurt, you can get medical attention immediately. Some insurance companies include cover in your insurance policy for emergency services.

You can call your insurance company as soon as you’re able to and start the claims process. With this in mind, it’s important to remember that your insurance company might not automatically pay to repair or replace the roof damage. This is because it depends on whether your roof collapsed due to regular wear and tear, or if an act of nature, such as a storm or fire, caused the damage.

Insurers rarely, if ever, cover wear and tear, and this applies to any kind of cover you have, whether it’s for your home or your car. So if you haven’t maintained the integrity of your roof over the years and your roof collapses due to heavy rain, your insurer might not pay out.

Having said that, if your insurance company does pay, there’s a good chance it will pay for more than just the roof repairs. Let’s say your carpets are damaged due to your geyser bursting. The insurer might pay for the roof/ceiling, the geyser, and to clean or replace the carpets.

It all depends on what it says in your insurance schedule. That’s why it’s best to call straight away and get an answer as to what will be covered. If you are concerned about whether you would have cover in this situation, you can read through your policy documents today to learn more about the limits of your cover. You can look at sections such as “exclusions”.

Depending on the extent of the damage, this might need to be the first thing to do (after making sure everyone is safe). If your entire roof has collapsed (rather than there being more minor damage), then we’d recommend calling a roofing contractor—and an emergency one if the incident happens after hours or over the weekend. Usually, you would also need to clear the repairs by the contractor with your insurance company to make sure they pay (if the damage isn’t due to wear and tear).

If your roof has collapsed or its leaking, most people want to urgently move their valuables out of the way to protect them from further damage. This is, of course, only a good idea if it’s safe to do so. If there’s a chance the roof could collapse, remember that belongings can always be replaced—your life is more important.

If you can’t move an item, you can see if you can cover it to protect it until you can move it out of the way. Plastic sheeting isn’t something that most people keep at home, although it would be ideal, but you can try using bin bags to protect your valuables.

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What are the Signs of a Roof Collapsing? 

If you’re looking to protect your finances in case of something like a roof collapse due to a natural disaster, look no further than You can get a quote on our website and save up to 29% on your insurance! This is because we can connect you with the ideal reputable South African insurer for your needs. You can start today and get the best home insurance for you simply by filling in the form on this page.

Some of the signs of a roof collapsing include: 

    • Sagging Ceiling. This can be due to water pooling on the ceiling, and it’s a major red flag that your ceiling is about to collapse.
    • Sagging Roof. If the bracing or trusses are too heavy, the roof may not be able to bear the weight. This is typically a result of the building being built poorly. Depending on how old the building is, there might be recourse for you, as all new buildings must be registered with the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) and have a five-year warranty for structural issues and one year for roof leaks.
    • Sunlight in the Ceiling. If you’re ever up in the space between your ceiling and your roof and you see sunlight, it means there are holes in your roof.

It might be difficult to tell if you urgently need a repairer. Could that small leak simply need a bucket underneath and it can wait until Monday morning? Or is it a sign that the ceiling is about to cave in? If you’re really unsure, we recommend you play it on the cautious side and call in a roofing contractor as soon as you can.